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(Friday, September 7th)
Final Score: New York 8, Baltimore 5
Baltimore, MD (Sports Network) - The Yankees answered the Orioles' six-homer showing in the series opener with three of their own Friday, as New York regained sole possession of first place in the AL East with an 8-5 victory at Camden Yards.
Baltimore pulled even atop the division with a 10-6 win on Thursday, but home runs by Russell Martin, Steve Pearce and Alex Rodriguez off Wei-Yin Chen (12-9) sparked the rout and evened the pivotal four-game series.
"We're a tough team. We've got guys that have been in tough situations," said Martin of the Yankees suddenly finding themselves in a pennant race after leading the Orioles by 10 games on July 18. "It feels like the playoffs."
Phil Hughes (14-12), five days removed from suffering a loss to the Orioles, earned the win with six quality innings on the hill.
Hughes, staked to a 7-0 lead, was cruising before Adam Jones' massive three- run homer in the sixth.
The blast gave life to the capacity crowd, and Robert Andino's solo homer off Cody Eppley an inning later pulled the hosts within three.
But the Yankees bullpen closed the door from there.
Boone Logan recorded the final two outs of the seventh and the first in the eighth, and David Robertson retired Jones and Matt Wieters leading up to the ninth.
Ichiro Suzuki scored an insurance run in the away half when Derek Jeter's sharp ground ball ate up Andino at second base, and Rafael Soriano shook off Manny Machado's solo homer in the bottom half to close out the win.
"You have to tip your hat to their bullpen. They came in and did a good job," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We're disappointed."
Chen allowed just one hit over the first three frames, but got himself in trouble by plunking Nick Swisher on the foot and walking Robinson Cano to start the fourth.
After striking out Rodriguez, Chen grooved a 2-0 pitch to Martin that was redirected into the left-field bleachers for the backstop's 16th home run.
A two-out base hit by Andruw Jones kept the inning alive for Pearce, whose deep fly ball to left field avoided the glove of Nate McLouth and found the first row of seats.
Coincidentally, McLouth robbed Swisher of a two-run round-tripper in the ninth in roughly the same spot where he narrowly missed Pearce's homer.
Rodriguez ended Chen's outing in the fifth when he crushed a high fastball into the back of the bullpen in left-center field for a two-run shot. Jeter led off the frame with the first of his three singles.
Chen's final line saw him allow seven runs on six hits and one walk over 4 2/3 innings.
J.J. Hardy reached on a Swisher error and McLouth doubled off the scoreboard in right field prior to Jones' 29th homer of the season.
These teams have combined for 12 homers over the first two games of the series ... The season series is tied, 8-8 ... The Yankees are 11-12 vs. rookie starting pitchers this year ... New York has been in first place since the start of play on June 12 ... Rodriguez moved into sole possession of 38th place on MLB's all-time hit list (2,878) and tied Tris Speaker for 10th place on the all-time runs scored list (1,882) ... Hughes was charged with three runs -- two earned -- on six hits. He did not issue a walk and struck out five ... Saturday's matchup features the Yankees' CC Sabathia toeing the rubber against Joe Saunders.
09/08 00:50:53 ET
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